On November 26th, a diverse group of parents, educators, municipal leaders, Trustees, researchers and community members came together to explore issues and challenges related to rural schools in Ontario.
Over 80 participated in the Symposium, attendees came from Peterborough, Paisley and Chelsey, Sarnia and Windsor, and from Southwestern Ontario.
The Symposium was emceed by the Local School Advisory Committee Chairperson, Darren Ferguson, with opening greetings provided by North Middlesex Mayor Shipway
The first Ontario Rural Education Symposium was hosted in the Municipality of North Middlesex by the Local School Advisory Committee. The theme for Symposium was “Growing Innovation… Learn Local” and featured keynote speaker Doug Reycraft: Community Schools Alliance.
The goals for the Symposium focused on making connections and enhancing a network of rural and small school leaders; to facilitate dialogue related to rural education and; to promote public awareness of rural community schools.
Creating a new dialogue related to sustainable rural school communities is exciting work, the Symposium offered the opportunity for participants to learn, connect, and exchange through innovative conversationsrelated to rural school and communities.
The primary goals of this event was to create awareness related to the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities, to connect to existing local capacity, to share the local/regional challenges experienced, and many ways successes in rural education have been realized.
Following a Keynote presentation, three framing plenary presentations shared perspectives as learned experiences. A total of 80 participants discussed five questions related to rural schools, these discussions were transcribed and shared as a bases for further advocacy.
The Symposium attendees appreciated interacting with MPP Monty McNaughton, who conveyed encouragement and support for rural schools.